Devon Horse Show and Coun­try Fair runs through June 4

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Pete Ban­nan pban­nan@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @pe­te­ban­nan on Twit­ter

EASTTOWN >> The horse are com­ing, in­clud­ing the Cly­des­dales, the rides are in place and the vol­un­teers are back as the Devon Horse Show and Coun­try Fair makes its an­nual re­turn to Ch­ester County.

Changes at the show in­clude a new two-story tent grand­stand on the south­east cor­ner of Dixon Oval and a new event, the Devon Arena Event­ing, which fea­tures a cross­coun­try phase that runs through the Gold Ring and the Dixon Oval, with both cross-coun­try and show-jump­ing fences.

On Wed­nes­day as early ar­rivals were set­ting up their sta­bles and tak­ing their horses for prac­tice in Dixon Oval, vol­un­teer Eric Corkhill of Paoli was in his car with Devon’s 1902 Stotes­bury per­pet­ual tro­phy safely buck­led next to him. The Stotes­bury tro­phy is one of the show’s 184 tro­phies, some of which go back to the 19th cen­tury.

Corkhill was tak­ing it out for clean­ing be­fore it is given out Saturday. Most of the tro­phies and awards are cleaned, en­graved and kept in a safe at a lo­cal jew­eler. He ex­plained the Stotes­bury tro­phy was so del­i­cate that he would clean it him­self.

Dur­ing the show, tro­phies are kept be­hind hur­ri­cane-strength glass near the Dixon Oval for visi­tors to see. Devon’s col­lec­tion was re­cently ap­praised by Free­man’s Auction house at a value of $2 mil­lion.

The tro­phies are split in two cat­e­gories. The first cat­e­gory is chal­lenge tro­phies, which will be given to a rider in a given cat­e­gory, and if that rider wins that event five times they get to keep the tro­phy. Corkhill es­ti­mated the horse show has given out hun­dreds of tro­phies this way over the years. The sec­ond class of tro­phies is per­pet­ual; these tro­phies are kept by Devon per­ma­nently. The win­ner is given a keep­sake plate.

Tro­phies are staged for each day of the show so that the win­ners can be pho­tographed with them fol­low­ing the event.

Corkhill said 30 or­phaned tro­phies, so­called be­cause they were awarded for com­pe­ti­tions which are no longer run at Devon, once were kept in a shed on the prop­erty. He saw that they were prop­erly stored and cleaned up.

On Mon­day, Devon will get one of its chal­lenge tro­phy’s back. A fam­ily from Florida con­tacted Devon for de­tails on a tro­phy from Devon. It was found in a fam­ily mem­ber’s home. Corkhill said they re­searched it and found it was last given out in 1916 to Maj. Gen. Ge­orge Gibbs and Brig. Gen. Wil­liam “Billy” Mitchell. The next year, World War I be­gan and the tro­phy was for­got­ten. Gibbs went on to run the sig­nal corps and Mitchell went on to help start the U.S. Air Force.

On Wed­nes­day, shops were busy stock­ing their wares for the coun­try fair. Joan Oates, con­ces­sions vol­un­teer said there are 37 shop in the coun­try fair this year in­clud­ing eight ven­dors: Haver­hill Jewelers; Church­well Jewelers; LuLaRe, a com­fort cloth­ing store;Taste Ar­ti­sanal, which spe­cial­izes in chut­ney spreads; Waltz­ing Matilda, leather goods and saddles; What a Good Dog, dog train­ing and goods; and Isle Field.

Over at the sou­venir booth, coun­try fair buyer Kathy Moore said they have a num­ber of new items for sale, in­clud­ing: vine­yard silk scarfs and neck­ties, match­ing hand­hooked pil­lows and rugs, Turk­ish tow­els and the Cork­ci­cle, a trendy ther­mos. Moore said they sell some of their items on the Horse Show web­site, but the ma­jor­ity of items are only sold at the Coun­try Fair. She said base­ball hats, T-shirts and sweat­shirts with new de­signs each year are the peren­nial fa­vorites.

Com­pe­ti­tion opens with Ju­nior Week­end, start­ing with eq­ui­tation classes to­day, and con­tin­u­ing with ju­nior hunter and jumper and pony classes on Friday and Saturday.

The Cly­des­dales are sched­uled to ap­pear June 2 and 3, the sec­ond week­end of the show. McLain Ward will be at Devon to de­fend his Grand Prix ti­tle next Thurs­day evening, June 1. The Car­riage Plea­sure Drive on Sunday, ar­riv­ing at the Dixon Oval around 12:30 p.m., opens eight days of adult com­pe­ti­tion. The show ends June 4.

At the in­for­ma­tion booth, Dev Thie­lens of Ber­wyn was en­joy­ing the sight of the horses, along with the ex­cite­ment of last-minute prepa­ra­tions.

“There have been a lot of changes at Devon over the years, but it still has the same feel,” she said.

PETE BAN­NAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA Rid­ers and horses warm up in the Dixon Oval at the Devon Horse Show and Coun­try Fair, which runs through June 4.

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